Divorce at 50 and Over
Separating when over 50 may be due to a number of factors:
Internet usage - adults of this age are becoming as internet savvy as the younger generation. There is still an opportunity to enter into a new relationship with internet dating no longer having the stigma it once did. People of this generation can meet new people with similar interests online as companions or partners.
Greater life expectancy - The average life expectancy of a woman in Northern Ireland is 82. People are now leading longer and healthier lives and look forward to many more years of good health. With this in mind spouses are beginning to question if they are unhappy in their marriage in their fifties or sixties, they have many years left to turn things around and start doing what makes them happy with someone who shares the same interests.
Empty nest syndrome - couples no longer feel the pressure to “stay together for the sake of the children”. Their children are older and may have already left home to go to university or start their own families and are therefore shielded from the marital breakdown.
Women in particular are more financially independent, and as such may feel more confident to leave an unhappy marriage if they are no longer reliant on their spouse for financial support.
Whilst they are the fastest growing category of divorcing couples, those facing a divorce in their 50’s/ 60’s do so at a time when they are closer to retirement and they face real concerns about how their income and housing needs are going to be met.
Whilst individual financial circumstances are different, there are several factors that separating later in life raises:
Rehousing and income - there may be no time or opportunity to rebuild financial resources post-divorce, and little prospect of securing a mortgage to assist in buying a new home. It is important that new properties are purchased from the division of the marital assets and therefore vital that the individual secures the best financial settlement. It is also likely that income from employment may come to an end and reliance on income from other sources will come into play, for example spousal maintenance.
Pension assets - dividing retirement plans can be complicated and requires careful attention. Retirement and pension rights may be considered a matrimonial asset of a long marriage, and it may not always be a simple 50/50 division of assets.
Wills - in the wake of a separation, updating your will is advisable.
Pre-nuptial agreements - parties who are planning to remarry later in life should consider a pre-nuptial agreement, given that they may now have independent wealth which they may wish to preserve for their children and protect against any further divorce proceedings.
Divorce can be an overwhelming and emotional experience and it is for this reason that it is important to seek out the correct legal support at an early stage.
At Dungannon's PA Duffy and Co solicitors we advise clients on all aspects of separation and divorce. If you would like advice about any of these issues please get in contact with our team.